Loyiso Mbambo, a renowned chef and restaurateur in Kayamandi who is well-known for his delectable African cuisine dishes, has worked in the culinary industry for many years and has consistently sought creative ways to use his meals to convey the tale of Kayamandi.
Loyiso, who is also popularly known as Roots, is also a qualified tour guide and the former owner of Roots Restaurant,now known as Amazinki.
Born in Kayamandi, he lived with his aunt until the age of seven, when his own parents could no longer take care of him. He learned the fundamentals of African cooking—more specifically, Xhosa cuisine—from his aunt.
He then underwent hands-on training at, among others, the Straightway Hotel in Somerset West to learn the finer points of restaurant and kitchen management. Part of this training included a practical internship at Stellenbosch Tourism, which he did from October 2005 to March 2006.
Roots, who is now a co-owner of Empopeni, continues to do what he does best by serving traditional Xhosa food with a fresh, contemporary flair.
He shares with us that the introduction of fibertime in Kayamandi changed their lives for the better, as he is now able to stay connected to the internet, making him able to operate his business in an efficient manner.
As a person who takes his work seriously, treating food as a delicious mode for conveying the richness and vitality of his heritage, he is now able to research recipes on the internet, get inspiration, and put some creativity into the food he serves.
“It’s not only about the business, but fibretime has made things a lot easier at home too, as it has allowed my kids to spend more time on the internet doing school work, and it has also kept them away from playing in the streets, protecting them from unfavourable activities. At home, they are now connected to the internet, able to watch Youtube, play online games, and also connect to the smart TV at an affordable price,” said Roots.
Root has bigger plans for Empopeni, and one of those is to create virtual exhibitions that will showcase the history of Kayamandi and also create a centre where young people will be able to access the internet for free, search jobs, and access other opportunities. He says that with fibertime, that dream is possible.
“We are looking at expanding and creating many job opportunities for our young people. We really want to transform the way people think about Kayamandi; we want to make it a modern township that has endless opportunities and that every dream is possible to come true,” he added.